Stocks head higher, led by technology, industrial companies

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising Friday as technology companies turn higher and Boeing continues to lead industrial companies.

Stocks in the U.K. are slumping and the pound is rising after the Bank of England suggested it will start raising interest rates soon. The Federal Reserve said industrial production in the U.S. fell last month, mostly because of Hurricane Harvey.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,497 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 48 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,251 as Boeing continued its recent rally and Apple reversed a few days of losses. The 30-company index closed at record highs the last three days. The Nasdaq composite added 22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,451. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,427.

After a big gain Monday, stocks have been fairly quiet this week as investors turn their attention to next week’s Federal Reserve meeting. The bank is not expected to raise interest rates this month, but Wall Street is wondering if it will do so in December. The Bank of England also remained a focal point this week.

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ECONOMICS: Industrial production in the U.S. fell 0.9 percent in August, the biggest drop in eight years, as Harvey knocked numerous oil refining, plastics and chemicals factories out of business for a time. Many of those factories are based in the Gulf Coast region that Harvey hit. The Federal Reserve says the weather and flooding was responsible for almost all of the loss.

Separately, the Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.2 percent last month as car sales decreased. That was weaker than analysts expected, and Harvey may have also been a factor in the sales decrease.

THE QUOTE: Rick Rieder, the chief investment officer for BlackRock’s global fixed income business, said retail sales and inflation have been weak because technological changes keep sending the price of clothes, food, travel, and phone plans lower.

“We get everything cheaper than we used to because of the internet and delivery mechanisms,” he said.

CLOUDY FORECAST: Oracle’s first-quarter profit and sales were better than investors expected, but the software maker sank as analysts were concerned about forecasts for its cloud computing business. Oracle lost $3.47, or 6.6 percent, to…

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